Everyone enjoys having a break from school, students and educators alike. And while taking that time off is essential and allows us time to re-charge, it can be difficult to get back on track after an extended break. I believe this can be especially tough in the library or other specials classes. Re-establishing library rules and procedures is always part of my after break plans.
Below I am sharing some tips, tricks and ideas that I have found useful in helping to get my classes back on track after a holiday break.
Re-teach rules and procedures
This is a an absolute must in re-establishing routines, remind students of the library rules, expectations and procedures. Act like it’s the first day of school. What did you teach your classes as they came in the library for the first time? This is what you want to re-teach now. You will not need to spend as much time on this as you did at the beginning of the year, but it is important to take the time to go over some of the key concepts. Some of these include:
- How to enter and exit the library
- Assigned seats (this is the perfect time to give new assigned seats as well)
- Story time procedure
- How and where to listen to a story
- Importance of raising your hand
- Respect for classmates, library staff and library books and materials
- Check-out procedures
- Check-in procedures
- How to use a shelf marker
- Book care review
I incorporate a library skills review with the behavior and expectations lesson. I do not do an in-depth review but I like to cover the basics. I have taught the previous few months. Skills reveiwed:
- Fiction vs nonfiction
- Locations of different books in the library
- How to check out a just right book
- What is a call number and how to we use them
- What is the Dewey Decimal System?
- Author and illustrator
- Parts of a book
Ways to review
- Pull out your back-to-school lessons and use those. My Elementary Library Orientation PowerPoint game is perfect for this because you can edit the questions. So if you used it during library orientation, you can quickly change the questions to mix it up. Add in more library skills review questions or questions to help review specific behaviors that a class needs to improve on.
- Another idea is to create a kahoot game. Kahoot is a fantastic tool to use to review any type of content. You can play whole-group, teams or in small groups.
- If you do not have enough devices for your whole class to use, you can create a similar game using Plickers. All you need is one device for yourself. If you are unfamiliar with Plickers this blog post will tell you more about it.
- Book care rules are very important to review with kindergarten and first grade students. My Book Care activity pack will provide you with all you need to teach and review how to take care of books. Or you can use my free book care coloring sheet.
- Use this free PowerPoint to review the most important rules, behaviors and skills you want to reinforce. All of the text is editable so you can make it to suit your needs. On the first slide you can enter some basic information like the number of books that can be checked out and what happens if a book is lost or damaged. Then you can have students do a think, pair, share about library behavior. Or you can add your own text. Simple, easy and effective.
- In the free resource library you can find a worksheet your students can fill out that asks them to think about what types of behavior they should show in the library and why it is important.
Review and make changes
This is an excellent time to reflect on the first few months of the school year and think about changes you need to make to your procedures. What has worked well and what needs improvement? Do you need to re-think how students check out their books? Are your kindergartners getting too restless during story time? If you want to begin a makerspace or start using library centers now is the time to introduce these to students.
Other ideas to re-establish rules
- Give students new assigned seats. Students love when they are able to change their seats. I usually only do it at the end of a semester. I also like to give a free seat day as a reward or incentive as well.
- After the Christmas break I begin to let kindergarten classes check out from the bookshelves instead of from a cart. I take this time to re-teach basic book care rules and go over how use a shelf marker and how to choose a library book from the shelf without leaving a mess behind.
- Re-teach students how to use a shelf marker. Usually I do this with first grade students only.
- Have your students make reading resolutions with my New Year’s Resolutions for the School Library activity pack. Read this blog post to learn more.